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Old 11-28-2015, 02:45 PM   #1
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Worried--wallpapered walls on a potential boat purchase

Hello everyone,
I have just surveyed and sea trialed a 1990 36' Marine Trader Sundeck in Key West. She surveyed (and an engine survey) fair--needs a few large fixes like bottom peeling and numerous smaller mechanical fixes. The two things I am going crazy with worry about are black iron tanks--which we couldn't see as she is a tight fitting twin diesel (and the owner refused to let me pressure test them.) I know this is a risk, and a lower-than-assesses asking price would likely make up for this headache. BUT, I understand that famous leaking windows make it a bigger risk... and I cannot tell if they were for the walls have been coated. Of course this seemingly would indicate bad walls--as why would someone do it otherwise. It also bothers me--as I really like the teak. Not enough to nix the boat... but since I cannot find any info on this by searching the net I thought I would ask here. The walls around the dinette are a wallpaper, both staterooms are paint, and the main salon has a type of glued on, textured and soft white wall covering. (Like little squares pressed in--wish I took a close up.) It is such a good job of all that I had a hard time determining that it was not done with the original purchase--in fact I'm still not positive of that. I did sneak around and dig into & peel back some corners below windows without damaging it to see what I could see-- no indication of rot, and looked like bare plywood. Also the counter surfaces had white-ish formica--also a pro looking job, and did not look like teak underneath. Has anyone seen anything like this before? Advice? Thanks so much.
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Old 11-28-2015, 02:47 PM   #2
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dinette wall photo

dinette walls
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Old 11-28-2015, 03:03 PM   #3
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"and the owner refused to let me pressure test them"

keep looking, or negotiate a discount to replace the tanks.
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Old 11-28-2015, 03:18 PM   #4
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I understand and do not want tank replacement trouble! But the agreed on offer is $40k while the assessed value is $52 and the three others on the market (similar years) are in the $60k range. Perhaps this has already been figured in... I think I will offer another $10K less and see what happens. There are so few of this layout on the market with the beam that fits my slip. I am assuming that you believe papered walls are a sure indication of bad windows? Likely so-- can find nothing on this as an option. (This boat is not on yachtworld-- not sure why-- popyachts only.)
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Old 11-28-2015, 03:20 PM   #5
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Big liability for the owner with the pressure test I understand--can sort of understand why the refusal-- low price, why take the risk.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:06 PM   #6
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Mine is 10 yrs older. I have had no troube with the black iron tanks, but then my deck fittings aren't leaking.
Wallpaper doesn't indicate bad windows. Rather it indicates repaired, formerly bad, windows. If the job looks original, that means the window frames were put in after the papered panels, then if the windows leaked subsequent to that, you would see the staining on the replacement wallpaper. A good look at the window construction should tell you if there is a problem.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:34 PM   #7
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Lots of people like the lighter look of paint instead of teak; agree, if it were my boat, hands off the tanks! You can gobble up $20000 in a heartbeat doing repairs - I'd walk. The discount is to do the repairs to bring it to a $60000 one, which will also need something. The boat is 25 years old. If you like it offer $25, perhaps the owner will bargain, if you dont feel good about it, wait for a better one. There really are lots of Taiwanese trawlers around, perhaps not at this red-hot moment. I think TTs are a crapshoot anyway, but I'm biased....
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:47 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Mr. H. As mentioned the fuel tanks are the MAJOR concern on this particular vessel. Maybe one of those mini fiber-optic cameras could be snaked into some areas. Regarding the paint/overlay...I wonder if this is a situation where a moisture meter could provide some insight?
Like yourself, coatings/coverings of any sort over what probably was a teak liner would raise concerns to me as well. Repaired and coated? Coated as a quick fix and still leaking?
Again, lots of boats out there...
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:47 PM   #9
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Pressure testing an old welded steel vented tank is probably not a good idea.

3-5psi (depending on the SA:V, and with calibrated gauges) would be lots for a new quality construction fuel tank.

I wouldn't want anyone to do that to my aluminum tanks either on a survey. Or you break it you buy it.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:50 PM   #10
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After looking at 14+ boats recently one thing that I have learnt for every fault you find there's another 5 you have missed and if it looks like a duck quacks like a duck there a 99.999% it is a duck .Run don't walk.
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:35 PM   #11
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A brand new boat for 10 times that price will still have several hidden problems for every one you can find right away. Is there any actual EVIDENCE of tank problems or window leaks? If the windows leaked onto the tanks and ruined them, the rust will be evident on top of the tank, and it seems like there has to be a way to get a look; the small camera if nothing else.
Not being able to see the tanks seems like the biggest concern to me.
Yes, plenty of boats out there, but no perfect ones.
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Old 11-28-2015, 07:06 PM   #12
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I'll take a bet here...I'll bet there was water damage to the teak, either severe staining, delamination of veneers or rot.


Maybe not much...but enough to refinish in several different manners.


I can relate...having 90 percent of my teak veneer just start falling off after bringing the boat North and the first freeze thaw cycle destroyed the teak veneers.


I put up pine bead board and painted, other less structural areas I am just painting... Overhead at the helm...I am using a pebbled black shelf liner for glare reduction.


So depending on how well the PO repaired before covering up matters way more than the outer finish...but obviously you want it looking nice to you.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:20 AM   #13
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Many TT were all teak everywhere below.

Some folks find this to be just too dark .

Painting is one option ,after slapping on 3 or 4 coats of varnish, so the teak can be restored in the future.

Wallpaper is simply a way of covering the dark dark , even easier to restore.

Yes there is probably some finish issues under the paper as its hard to bleach and varnish after window leaks.

Only an IDIOT would allow tanks not mfg to a standard to be pressurized.

Bad tanks can be a PIA , but there are loads of workaround solutions.

The overall level of ongoing maint would be my key to a vessel vessel purchase.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:16 AM   #14
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If they gave you this vessel would you want it?
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:13 AM   #15
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"If they gave you this vessel would you want it?"

Sure , the location FL Key West is probably the worst place to sell any boat .

Tiny foot traffic and boodles of ship tourists with 5 hours on the land.

"-needs a few large fixes like bottom peeling and numerous smaller mechanical fixes.

What floating boat doesn't?

Probably less risk and work than comissioning a brand new boat at 10- 20 times the price A brand new Nordy too a year at out docl.

The chance of a tank leak in the next decade or two exists for every unmaintained boat , where deck leaks can ruin the tank. Usually there are plenty of signs of rust washing off the tank , if its under a leaky deck.

Leaking decks and windows are a std for all the older TT , if the deck and PH is not resealed with regularity , the plywood will depart.

Chances are one could have it a decade of fun cruising with out the requirement for anything but normal PM.

The bottom needs painting , WOW , who would be silly enough to buy a boat that needs fresh bottom paint?
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by what_barnacles View Post
"and the owner refused to let me pressure test them"

keep looking, or negotiate a discount to replace the tanks.
The testing could be destructive and then who pays?
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Old 11-30-2015, 03:43 PM   #17
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I would have thought your surveyor would have used a camera on an extension to examine the tanks and the areas around them.

One word you used bothered me a bit, you used the term "assessed value." Assessed by whom?
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Old 11-30-2015, 05:49 PM   #18
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Wow, lots of good insight. I will attempt to answer/explain a little more for those interested.

RE Tanks: There was no way to see much of the tanks as they were encased in those white sound-proof (I think fiberglass) panels. One small (1’x1’) panel is removable to access a port. Tank looked okay there—painted (I think) white. But this is only a small piece of the side of the tank—and even if one could see a pic of the top or bottom, it would be only a section—no guarantees of the rest of the tank. This is what the (highly recommended) surveyor told me… plus he would have to damage the “box” to do this—he cannot/wouldnot. The owner did give permission to cut a small hold to snake a camera in—but again we decided it would show a close up. Perhaps I should have insisted as it is really cramped with two engines—would need to pull both or go through the hull side to replace them—ugh. Yes, the owner would have to take full responsibility for tank testing damage—and as it was said, high risk. Valuable info about rust washing off the tanks… didn’t think of this. Those white panels were brown near the bottom—but did not smell of fuel. Now I know it is likely rust… and only one side. No water, so perhaps old rust… ugh again. I realize the leaking windows and tank replacement need are common on these trawlers… which is why my concern and my biggest goal to determine risk—which seemed impossible to do.

RE: “assessed value” was the value the survey but on the boat ($52k.) I supposed they use market analysis, BUC value, etc… the others are in the $60s and only one has had tanks replaced.

RE: Bottom paint. I was a little shy of details here—fresh bottom paint is always needed-- but mentioned it because the whole story was a sure indication that the owner did not maintain this boat—with any respect. Not to mention surprises. To me it is a quite important point—indicating the walls probably did leak—for the other maintenance sucked. Angered me to read the bottom “was done last year” on the listing. When arriving the broker said “done two years ago.” On survey we found not only it seemed not painted—but had hundreds of blisters and corrosion of the props, etc. I didn’t mention this for the surveyor determined the blisters were the applied-after-lay-up gel coat… and were not (he checked only about 10 though) eating into the glass hull (as the hull was not white.) Since the glass was quite thick this year and gel applied after—this could be easily peeled or blasted off to smooth & barrier coat/paint. Bad news—lies. Good news—good thick hull. BUT, the real kicker was that we found almost non-existent zincs! Holy cow… completely gone most places, barely there in a few. Some prop pitting and discoloration due to neglect. Called the owner so he could have them put on while it was in the slings… he said… ready for this? No. The boat is back in the water being eaten alive. I know… walk don’t run. (People have their reasons—but this is sad/sick.)

RE: Walls. Good advice, made me realize that I may not have seen dark, once (or still) wet wood under my small peel of the paper as the veneer may have been pulled off before papering…. Hence the plywood looking color --which is why I thought it may have been factory done. Naïve me.
RE: Overall level of ongoing maintenance. The boat was cleaned up inside, decks freshly painted. This was a great indicator of love and care. The rest I just said? Opposite. Add to that hoses replaced with substandard (& dangerous ones that may not handle the heat) ones, a through hull frozen and another added on top inside, volt meters not synced, rudders misaligned, one engine overheating, etc etc. All indications of “99.9% DUCK.”

But I still want it to work out… and even if I had to pay for much of this work done pro—which I would, were it worth it. I do realize (even being a girl) there will be and always be much to fix/maintain on a boat, and I’ve always loved putting my energy into that hole in the water. Which I why I am giving this one so much of a chance. But then again, being stupid and buying a problem child is not what I want to do. I asked you all here for I knew, and it is true, all the combined wisdom would open my eyes!
This is my project—my husband is just in the background listening and will support me whatever I do, but it is “my baby” and all my responsibility. Neither of us are mechanically inclined—never had to fix much living in military housing. It has been almost 3 decades since I was a liveaboard (bought myself a fix-up progect and immediately taught myself to fiberglass) & worked sometimes as crew (DC area for 8 years.) Funny how flying to Key West by myself for that survey, etc helped me realize I hadn’t forgotten everything, even tho it feels like it sometimes. Nautical terminology came back quickly… and when the survey tried to explain that “there was a thing that was meant to leak a little water and needed to be fixed” I simply asked him if he meant a stuffing box needed to be repacked. The comments similar to “you’re a sweet girl and I want to help you” (broker) ceased when I pulled out my magnet and mirror-on-a-telescoping-stick. Still… just cause you look at something doesn’t mean you know what you’re seeing. Not to mention my disbelief that we had no dock-lines aboard (and it was 25 knots winds.) Stupid. We approached the haul-out dock and they had none either. This was a seller-hired captain, who also "maintaned" the boat. My "warm and fuzzy" went to zero. Hope you all are laughing!!

I decided to counter offer very low—enough to fix all and the other yet unknown surprises. $25K which I doubt will fly—and I’ll be okay with that. Again, thanks.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:30 PM   #19
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I'm going to stick my neck out and say that it sounds like you're biting off more than you can chew. I'm concerned about the quality of this boat. You also sound like you're already emotionally attached to this boat. I hope you reconsider this and can evaluate the risks objectively. As they say, there's little more expensive than a cheap boat.

I hope you find a real cream puff out there to fall in love with. They're out there.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:46 PM   #20
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I decided to counter offer very low—enough to fix all and the other yet unknown surprises. $25K which I doubt will fly—and I’ll be okay with that. Again, thanks.
I put no value in the "assessment". Knowing what you do about the owner, you know the only reason he's do things to the interior is as a result of a problem.

Lack of access to the tanks would really bother me. Some day they are going to leak, whether with you or the next owner. You need to see them, whether by snaking a camera or using other equipment. I've never seen a tank you couldn't snake a view of at least a good portion. Did you have the fuel and oil samples tested? That might give a clue.

The issue even at $25k is do you want to do the minimum on the boat and use it pretty much as is? If so that might be a good deal. However, if you intend to do a lot of work on it, rehabbing it, then it becomes an issue. You find yourself spending $40k on it and still only having a $40-50k boat. You mentioned the listings on Yacht World. Well, those are all boats that haven't sold. Has the broker looked up the sold boats for you? Plus I would guess many of the boats on Yacht World have been better maintained. I think project boats are great for DIY'ers but not for those like you, like both of us, who have no aptitude in that direction and no desire.
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